Corn Meal to Mountain Biking

Dear Parents & Friends,

A bookend day like yesterday.  Some sun, some rain, more mud and camp marches on.  We’re marching on our belly’s as any army does.  The food today was great and supper tonight saw many helpings of ginger stir fry chicken, mandarin oranges, fresh corn and bread.  Today’s lunch was mash potatoes, meat loaf, fruit cocktail, fresh corn and beans.  The first photo on the web site tonight  is of corn.  Our mill is cranking out some products these days.  Children were eating homemade ice cream churned by the power of the water wheel today.  I saw Cindy cutting up fresh peaches this morning so I know peach was one flavor.  You can create about any flavor you want at the Mill.  We’ve had it all but one of my favorites in Reeces PB Cup.  You may not know this but the Mill has been here since 1890.  What we call the upper dwellings was a home and the Green in front was a large corn field.  The mill race (where the water comes from) was hand dug and runs more than a ¼ of a mile up to Mountainside where it joins the main creek through camp, Carson Creek.  The race is over 4 ft deep and is at least 4 feet across.  It must have taken a long time to dig.  There are huge rocks in and around the banks and the bottom of the race that only horse teams could have moved.

Several years ago one of our camp Dr’s found an Indian Head Penny around the fire ring at the Mill.  It was in pretty good shape and was dated 1890, the year the Mill started operation.  There’s a lot of history surrounding our property and the early settlers only scratch the surface.  Arrowheads have been found that date back 3000 years.  Our valley was a fertile land where game and fish were plentiful.  Water in the rivers ran clean unless there was flooding because agriculture and development wasn’t close to the scale it is today.  Trees were gigantic and one of the dominate species was the Chestnut.  That species has been wiped and today I would say the Poplar has taken over from the Chestnut.  Not a beautiful wood like the latter but a nice tree none the less.  Our stream that runs through camp must have been teeming with fish.  It still has a few native brook trout but not many.  I would love to bring that population back.

History gives way to technology as mountain bikes ride our trails.  I’m really pleased with our Mountain Biking program this year.  More children are riding than ever and it’s a great skill to have.  Growing up we didn’t think twice about biking but I think fewer children are riding bikes these days.  Mountain Bikes are safer in many ways because of the suspension and the bigger tires that can tackle rougher terrain.  Our young folks are doing a great job with learning the techniques to ride on single and double track  trails here at camp.  Instructors, Willis and Ben have done a great job of teaching and offering some challenges to children well within their means and also providing confidence while riding.  Our new trail on the Hunt Farm has been perfect for beginners to intermediates and is almost completely shaded so even riding in the heat of the day offers a respite from the heat.  The campers are also learning about gearing and understanding that cadence is important.  It makes me want to ride.

You can see in one photo that we’ve had plenty of rain.  The cabin in the photo has a plethora of towels hanging in the background.  It’s hard to dry things out in our rain forest.  I spoke last night about starting a fire for a cabin that couldn’t get it going.  I did the same for two more cabins tonight.  The secret ingredient was two waxed paper cups with dry wood shavings from a pile that’s under cover.  In 15 minutes we had a roaring fire and perfect in another 15 for smores.  On a cool night after a rainy day nothing is better.  I suppose we once again come to those “simple joys of camp”.  Stay tuned!


PS    7 little piglets were born last night around 10:30.  Children have paraded all day long to the Farm to see them.  It’s exciting.